All ABA members should be aware of Article 8 of the “Code of Good Practice”, which states:

“Valuations must be fair, honest, impartial and expert. Members offering valuation or appraisal services shall be responsible for being conversant with and complying with whatever local or national fiscal regulations may be in force. Fees should be by prior arrangement”.

Any request for a valuation needs definition as a “valuation” may take many forms.  Does the enquirer want to buy from you or someone else, want to sell to you or someone else, need the value for probate or insurance purposes, or is the enquirer just curious about something they have?

In the past valuations may have been conducted on a percentage of value basis, however this is rarely the case now, having been open to abuse, and not necessarily proportionate, in many cases, to the actual work involved.  Most trade associations will now recommend charging a fee based on time engaged.

Insurance and Probate

Insurance valuation is typically defined as “replacement value”.  Replacement must be taken to be like for like, so the quality and condition of an item is important.  This value should reflect a retail price.

Probate valuation is, for the purposes of settling the value of a deceased’s estate, the “market value”.  According to HM Revenue & Customs website “market value” is defined as “a realistic selling price”.

Inevitably, just as there is no fixed price for any antiquarian book, there is a certain vagueness as to these definitions and the important factor is that any figure proposed must be supportable to one’s best professional ability.  Catalogued retail prices or auction prices may be used as a basis for valuation, however each item valued must be taken on its individual merit.

A formal valuation, for whatever purpose, may at some point be challenged (by the HM Revenue & Customs for example) and this should always be taken into consideration.

We recommend a simple, clear and unambiguous statement describing the purpose of the valuation (probate, willing/buyer seller, insurance and so on) so that it cannot be used for another purpose, with a statement about lack of collation etc., and the occasion for which it is applicable.

A valuation form is available from the ABA Office.